Sunday, July 31, 2016

Madhusudan Naidu MUST TELL Sai devotees what happened in his interrogation by Nigerian police

Given below are two of my comments (slightly edited) on Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/notes/vr-ganti/madhusudhan-rao-naidu-and-others-arrested-in-nigeria/10207164303170587 :

The silence from Madhusudan Rao Naidu on this matter so far is not good. Let him say what happened and what he said to the Nigerian police. I hope he is not being prevented from saying it publicly by others.

This is a big matter related to Sathya Sai movement. Madhusudan Rao Naidu should focus on Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and not be afraid of anybody, and say the truth about what he said to the Nigerian police, publicly, perhaps on Facebook as that is quite convenient.
----

I can say with personal experience I have had with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in physical form, during my free service as honorary staff/honorary faculty/visiting faculty at Prasanthi Nilayam campus, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (Sai university) from Jan. 2003 to Mar. 2012, that Bhagavan valued and respected people who had the courage to stick to the truth. Let Madhusudan Rao Naidu take courage from Swami's promise to us Sai devotees, "Why Fear when I am Here", and say the truth about what happened in his interrogation by Nigerian police.

If he does not have that much courage or guts then .... Jai Sairam!
--- end comments ---

Readers may want to visit my post, Nigerian police interrogate Madhusudan Naidu about his communicator of Sathya Sai subtle body claim, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/07/nigerian-police-interrogate-madhusudan.html, dated July 30th 2016.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Nigerian police interrogate Madhusudan Naidu about his communicator of Sathya Sai subtle body claim

Last updated on 11th February 2017

Update on 11th Feb. 2017: My blog post, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2017/02/my-congratulations-to-muddenahalli.html, has my congratulations to Muddenahalli group leaders for 10 Jan 2017 Nigerian police report clearing them of any criminal or other offence charges. However this Nigerian police report DOES NOT WITHDRAW or REFUTE point 4 of Nigerian police report dated 23rd Nov. 2016 which states "During interrogation, the 4th suspect (D. Madhusudan Rao Naidu) said he is not "light body" and does not receive any message from the late founder, Sri Sathya Sai Baba". end-update

I had received a document today (30th July 2016) morning reportedly authored by Sathya Sai International Organisation, Nigeria, titled "MUDDENAHALLI FRAUD EXPOSED IN NIGERIA" which can be viewed here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3Pcd4RD_n8LUWdyWVc1QjJlVDA.
Update on 1st August 2016: A signed version of this document can be seen on my blog post, SSIO Nigeria document on detention/arrest of Muddenhalli group leaders signed by Africa chair Ramesh Hathiramani, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/08/ssio-nigeria-document-on.html, dated 1st Aug. 2016.
I tried to check the authenticity of the document and its contents. While I am not in a position to authenticate all the contents of the document, multiple sources have affirmed that the document is from Sathya Sai International Organisation, Nigeria. I was informed by multiple sources that Madhusudan Rao Naidu (and others) was interrogated by the Nigerian police (about his claim of being able to see and communicate with an invisible-to-others so called subtle body of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and perhaps some associated matters). The document states:

During interrogation by police in Nigeria Madhusudan Rao Naidu, who falsely projects himself, and is being referred to, as “Light Body Swami” (in this context - Medium pretending to receive direct communication from God and passing on such communication to individuals) denied ever assuming himself or projecting himself as “Light Body Swami and stated that he never received any Messages from any divine source”.
...
The Muddenahalli Group was exposed in Nigeria by the Sathya Sai International Organisation (SSIO) Zone 9A, Region 93, for disgraceful activities, fraud, deceiving many innocent Sathya Sai devotees, innocent Nigerians and for disrupting Bhagawan Baba’s sacred  Mission.
--- end extract from document ---

Ravi: Please note that I have a policy of not commenting on charges of financial impropriety. But what interests me here is the report that Madhusudan Rao Naidu denied receiving any messages from any divine source. One person with whom I tried to check this reported statement, mentioned that Madhusudan Rao Naidu was questioned about such claims by the Nigerian police and/or associated authorities, and that he got very scared by this police interrogation. It seems that Madhusudan Rao Naidu did not assert with the Nigerian police and/or associated authorities, his claim of being able to see and communicate with a so called subtle body of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and that he has promised not to do any such activities in Nigeria in future.

I think Madhusudan Rao Naidu should make a public statement on the matter now. He should not try to do a cover-up operation by acting as if this never happened. He is accountable to the many Sai devotees who believe his claims of being a so called communicator of/to a so called subtle body of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba based in Muddenahalli. Further, his actions have resulted in great tension and division within the Sathya Sai movement worldwide.

If he was not able to convince Nigerian police of his extraordinary claims then he, in all probability, would not be able to do that with police and/or courts of almost all, if not all, countries including India. In which case, the wise thing for Madhusudan Rao Naidu to do is to STOP giving darshan, interviews and discourses using a claim of being a communicator of/to a so called subtle body of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Instead he can provide his darshan, interviews and discourses in his own name. He could even modify his own name to Madhu Sai Baba. [I know some readers may not like Sai Baba part being added to his name but I think that is legal in India and probably in other countries too. We already have Bala Sai Baba of Kurnool and Sanjay Sai Baba of Nepal who use similar names.]
============================================================

Update on 31st July 2016

Some persons from Muddenahalli group are trying to spread the narrative on social media that Nigerian police looked into a complaint made against Muddenahalli group and found the complaint to be baseless and so allowed Muddenahalli group to do whatever they want in Nigeria. That seems to me to be a FALSE narrative.

What my sources have told me is that the police interrogated them (Muddenahalli group people) and as the Indian embassy got involved, the police deported them back to India (except for Nigerian nationals). I don't know whether the deportation was done formally (with a deportation stamp on their passports). But for the Indian embassy involvement perhaps the detention period could have been longer (like seems to be the case with one Nigerian national of the group).

According to my sources, very clearly, the Nigerian police & authorities did find Muddenahalli group activities there to be objectionable, and also have warned Madhusudan Naidu not to repeat his (so called communicator) actions in Nigeria.

I also felt it appropriate to share some information from comments on another person's Facebook post which is discussing this matter, https://www.facebook.com/notes/vr-ganti/madhusudhan-rao-naidu-and-others-arrested-in-nigeria/10207164303170587.

A Mr. Arun Srinivas wrote that he has spoken to OKWUDIRI IMO, who (Mr. Srinivas says) is the national council President of Sathya Sai organisation of Nigeria, and who was present at the time of the interrogation/arrest of Madhusudan Naidu and Shri B.N. Narasimhamurthy (and others). Mr. Srinivas wrote that they were deported from Nigeria.
------

Meanwhile a Mr Renato Ciammaruconi worte that if any one wants to get more authentication on the Muddenahalli group's arrest and subsequent send off to India, they could contact Mr. Okwudiri Imo, who is the head of Sri Sathya Sai Organisation, Nigeria and who was very much there when the interrogation happened. Mr. Imo's facebook page link was provided https://www.facebook.com/okwyimo?fref=ts.
------

Mr. Pardha Saradhi Uppala wrote:
"Arun Srinivas, you said you spoke to Mr. Okwudiri Imo, who was present during the investigation of Mr. Madhu, where he agreed he does not hear any 'Divine Voices'. If you have Mr. Imo's permission, can you please share the specifics of your conversation with Mr. Imo?"
---------

Mr. Arun Srinivas conveyed in his response to Mr. Pardha Saradhi Uppala that he had called Okuwdiri Imo who explained as to what all happened. Mr. Srinivas then wrote, "If ambassadors of Muddenahalli here in Facebook says that the story is FAKE...let them show the passport copy of their great Murthy Anna n fake Madhusudhan Naidu which has deportation stamp.....International sathya sai organisation is a wing of Central Trust and the circular cannot be fake as the brand ambassadors proclaim."
Mr Srinivas said that he is also a Muddenahalli ex student and that Murthy Anna (Shri B.N. Narsimhamurthy) was his guru and that he (Mr. Srinivas) is (something like deeply disappointed) because of (the current happenings there). He wrote, "I was a student almost 33 years ago at muddenhalli....so brand ambassadors at least (don't) have to give Discourse to person like me..."
--------

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Karna pisachi and Vasheekaran paranormal powers - something to stay away from!

This is from today's Deccan Chronicle, Tantric websites lure youngsters, http://epaper.deccanchronicle.com/articledetailpage.aspx?id=5967609. It is from page 2 of the issue dated 28th July 2016 whose epaper is available here (you may have to choose Andhra Pradesh, Anantapur edition, and the date as 28th July 2016):
http://epaper.deccanchronicle.com/epaper_main.aspx#page1128010. It is a pic of an article (I could not locate the text article on the Internet). It talks of tantric websites in India that lure youngsters with prescribed mantras/techniques to acquire Karna pisachi and Vasheekaran powers. Karna pisachi apparently means some spirit which will whisper answers to all kinds of questions in the ear of the person who has that power. And Vasheekaran supposedly attracts a targeted person towards the person practising it. I guess this would be like what in the Western world would be referred to as casting a spell on somebody to attract that person.

As this article appeared in an Andhra Pradesh newspaper I am afraid it indicates that some people are into such stuff. I think the wise thing is to stay away from such stuff. Further, people who claim to be some great holy being with supernatural powers could turn out to be people who acquired these kind of powers but are not really great or holy.

Perhaps a decade or two ago I would not have believed in such stuff. But today I do consider that it may be true. And for us Sai devotees, I think we can protect ourselves from any people who have such powers and who use it inappropriately, by praying earnestly to our beloved Lord, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba to protect us.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Claimed paranormal seeing while blindfolded by youngsters trained in that skill - videos

Here's a claimed paranormal seeing by a blindfolded USA based Indian origin kid who underwent some training to acquire that skill, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtLkzg8bFgA, 12 min. 37 secs, published Jul. 30th 2015.

https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1765570946992808 has a shared Facebook video dated July 12th 2016, where some paranormal seeing when blindfolded is demonstrated by some youngsters trained in such paranormal skills, to Rajiv Malhotra. The video is around 23 minutes.

My view is that it is fascinating, if true.

I put up this comment on the original Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/RajivMalhotra.Official/videos/660957954057545/:
Wow! Very interesting! The parapsychologists getting involved, which you said you plan to initiate, will be crucial for scientists to consider it seriously, I guess. They would want to test under controlled conditions. Thanks for sharing this.
--- end FB comment---

Ravi: The crux is scientists investigating this claimed paranormal ability under controlled conditions. Rajiv Malhotra mentioned that he intends to do that (by involving parapsychologists). About Rajiv Malhotra, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajiv_Malhotra:
Rajiv Malhotra (born 15 September 1950) is an Indian-American author and Hindu activist who, after a career in the computer and telecom industries, took early retirement in 1995 to found The Infinity Foundation, which focuses on Indic studies and promotes a non-western and nationalistic view on India and Hinduism. Malhotra has written prolifically in opposition to the academic study of Indian history and society, especially the study of Hinduism as it is conducted by scholars and university faculty, which he maintains denigrates the tradition and undermines the interests of India "by encouraging the paradigms that oppose its unity and integrity".
---- end wiki extract ----

Malhotra is viewed as a controversial figure by Western academic circles in fields of Hinduism and comparative religion. However, if he is able to initiate a scientific examination of these claimed paranormal seeing while blindfolded capabilities, that would be an interesting contribution, IMHO.

----------------------

Given below are selected comments from my Facebook post/share mentioned above (https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1765570946992808).

[An FB user provided this video link: The Clairvoyants: Cool Couple Plays Mind Games with Heidi Klum - America's Got Talent 2016 Auditions, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILOjUHn39qM, 4 min. 47 secs, published May 31, 2016. He mentioned that this video got 4.1 million views and made an argument that Indians have an inferiority complex when it comes to similar powers demonstrated by Indians. He mentioned that Indians will believe such things only when it is exported to India by white people as "Made in USA", and that Indians have a slave mentality of attacking such powers demonstrated by Indians.]

Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited):
Well, I think you are generalizing here. There are some rationalist/atheist type Indians who are very scornful about paranormal powers of Hindu spiritual masters. But most Indians do not fall into that category. ... Also, very unfortunately, there are many fake spiritual masters in India today who either are complete fakes or greatly exaggerate any paranormal powers they may have. That makes it difficult for common people to figure out which spiritual master to trust.
---

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Saw the clairvoyant video - that seemed to be pretty good. I wonder whether any parapsychologists have investigated the couple. That would bring it into the scientific examination realm and lend credibility to such powers.
----

Sai Das wrote:
Several ways I can think of right off the bat of faking this. What would any satguru say about this? We know what Sri Ramakrishna did. Strikes me as a promo video.
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited):
Sathya Sai, as far as I know, did not encourage people to focus on acquiring siddhis [paranormal powers], nor did Ramakrishna. So as Sai devotees we should not invest effort or encourage others to invest effort in acquiring such siddhis. .... However, from a larger perspective, the mainstream media and the scientist & rationalist community treat all such claims of paranormal powers as fake. Not only that, they mock anybody who has belief in miracles! From purely a world knowledge point of view, I think it will be wonderful if such paranormal powers are demonstrated under controlled conditions to investigative scientists. Then scientists will be willing to view it with some seriousness. That may lead to paranormal abilities being accepted as a reality in mainstream knowledge. Note that such mainstream knowledge dealing with paranormal abilities being accepted as a reality seems to be COMPLETELY controlled by hard nosed scientists.
----

Sai Das wrote (slightly edited):
I was listening to a TED talk I believe it was about consciousness and a scientist was saying that (there) was very little scientific information on consciousness and that the vast majority of scientists scoff at it saying it has nothing to do with science. Such narrow mindedness! Without consciousness, there is no science! :)
---

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
I have some small exposure to this area. A few scientists are vigorous in their openly expressed support for paranormal phenomena and consciousness, and they publish papers on it in a few fringe journals. However, they face the scorn of mainstream scientists, which typically damages their academic and scientific career, as the decision makers for most academic and scientific appointments & grants in the science field, are mainstream scientists!!! Prof. Erlendur Haraldsson, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erlendur_Haraldsson, https://notendur.hi.is/erlendur/english/, is one such brave psychology/parapsychology scientist/academic who writes in support of paranormal phenomena. In one of our mail exchanges, Haraldsson had mentioned the name of Rupert Sheldrake as one of the eminent scientists who write in support of consciousness (or something like that), http://www.sheldrake.org/, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Sheldrake.

--- end FB comments ---

An additional private comment I made to another person in this context (slightly edited):
Somehow I think some of these rationalists are not even willing to seriously look at it (such phenomena). I think they become like political leaders who get tied up with their followers, emotionally, and perhaps even financially. So like political leaders will never or rarely accept good things about their opponents, rationalists will never or rarely accept good things about such phenomena. After all, the rationalists are also human, and have human failings like bias.
----

[I thank Wikipedia and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Educational institutions suspected to be associated with Gulen closed by Turkish govt

Turkey's Erdogan shuts schools, charities in first state of emergency decree, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-security-emergency-idUSKCN1030BC, dated Jul. 23rd 2016

Ravi: The reports are that educational institutions which are either connected with or suspected to have connections with a Turkish Islamic preacher, now living in the USA, Fethullah Gulen, are being closed. The number of these educational institutions which have been closed or face closure, is in thousands, the reports say!!! If the reports are true, this is quite extraordinary!

Gulen is a former ally of current Turkish president Erdogan, which turned into enmity in or after 2013.

It seems that the current Turkish leaders feel threatened by Gulen's movement in Turkey which seems to have many followers/connections in various branches of govt., educational institutions etc. I think religious and spiritual movements need to take a neutral to political parties stance in proper/secular democracies as otherwise those movements will be viewed as threats by some political parties, and action would be initiated against them by those political parties when they come to/are in power.

Some info. about Gulen schools can be seen here: http://gulenschools.org/

Some details about Gulen from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fethullah_G%C3%BClen:

Muhammed Fethullah Gülen (born 27 April 1941) is a Turkish preacher, former imam, writer, and political figure. He is the founder of the Gülen movement (known as Hizmet meaning service in Turkish), and the inspiration figure for its largest organization, the Alliance for Shared Values. He currently lives in self-imposed exile in the United States, residing in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.

Gülen teaches a Hanafi version of Islam, deriving from Sunni Muslim scholar Said Nursî's teachings. Gülen has stated that he believes in science, interfaith dialogue among the People of the Book, and multi-party democracy. He has initiated such dialogue with the Vatican and some Jewish organizations.

Gülen is actively involved in the societal debate concerning the future of the Turkish state, and Islam in the modern world. He has been described in the English-language media as an imam "who promotes a tolerant Islam which emphasises altruism, hard work and education" and as "one of the world's most important Muslim figures."

Gülen was an ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan before 2013. The alliance was destroyed after the 2013 corruption investigations in Turkey. Erdogan accused Gülen of being behind the corruption investigations. He is currently on Turkey's most-wanted-terrorist list and is accused of leading what the current Turkish officials call the Gulenist Terror Organisation (FETÖ). A Turkish criminal court issued an arrest warrant for Gülen. Turkey is demanding the extradition of Gülen from the United States.  However, US figures in general do not believe he is associated with any terrorist activity.
....
Comparing Gülen to followers of the Nursî-inspired Risale-i Nur or "Nur movement," Hakan Yavuz said, "Gülen is more Turkish nationalist in his thinking. Also, he is somewhat more state-oriented, and is more concerned with market economics and neo-liberal economic policies."

His pro-business stance has led some outsiders to dub his theology an Islamic version of Calvinism.

...
His teachings differ in emphasis from those of other mainstream Islamic scholars in two respects, both based on his interpretations of particular verses of the Quran. He teaches that the Muslim community has a duty of service (Turkish: hizmet) to the "common good" of the community and the nation and to Muslims and non-Muslims all over the world; and that the Muslim community is obliged to conduct dialogue with not just the "People of the Book" (Jews and Christians), and people of other religions, but also with agnostics and atheists.
...
The Gülen movement is a transnational Islamic civic society movement inspired by Gülen's teachings. His teachings about hizmet (altruistic service to the "common good") have attracted a large number of supporters in Turkey, Central Asia, and increasingly in other parts of the world.
--- end wiki extracts ---

[I thank Wikipedia and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sathya Sai: Contemplation of death is foundation of spiritual discipline; without it, man will identify with false sense-pleasure world

From discourse of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume10/sss10-15.pdf, which seems to have been delivered on a GuruPurnina day, 18th July 1970:

GURU POURNAMI is sacred for many reasons: this day, the seeker who suffers from identification with the false objective world is initiated into the reality of the 'unseen motivator' within him; this day; those who have no urge to tread the spiritual path are inspired to seek the bliss which that path will confer; this day, aspirants are helped to achieve the consciousness of the One, which is known by many Names and through many Forms, in various languages and lands.
...
The contemplation of death is the very foundation of spiritual discipline. Without it, man is
certain to fall into falsehood, pursuing the objects of sense-pleasure, and trying to accumulate
material, worldly riches. Death is no ominous calamity; it is a step into the auspicious brightness
beyond. It is inescapable; it cannot be bribed away, adjourned by certificates of good conduct, or
testimonials from the great. Once born, death is the inevitable end. But, it is possible to escape
birth and thereby, escape death. For, birth is the consequence of karma. Do Karma which breeds
no consequence, no after-effects which have to be lived through---and you need not be born
again. Engage in activity, as duty; or engage in activity, as 'offering of worship to God'---then,
such activity will breed no after-effects. This problem of escaping death, achieving immortality,
Amrithathwam, is the very core of inquiry.
--- end extracts from Bhagavan discourse ---

Ravi: Enlightening words from Bhagavan!
I am reminded of the term, 'smashana vairagyam', meaning 'crematorium dispassion/detachment'. At the crematorium as one sees the lifeless body of a loved friend/relative, after appropriate rituals, get consigned to fire, one sure wonders about the permanence of worldly life and its real value. One wonders how much importance one should give to worldly things. It is a sobering experience and, if taken in the right spirit, great opportunity for learning (with death being the teacher of it being a great truth of worldly life) which can put one more firmly on the quest of experiencing the eternal spiritual life even when involved in worldly life.

Monday, July 18, 2016

How and why I became a whistleblower and publicly named and exposed few persons in Sai university

Last updated on 20th July 2016

Given below are mail extracts (my content only; significantly edited) from a mail exchange in May 2016 I had with a correspondent who had been supportive of me via his mail responses during my challenging days of March to June 2012 when I was fighting Sai university administrators via an email campaign for justice. I would like to publicly thank him for this support. [For details on the latter, please see my post, My May 2012 service record & record tampering related correspondence with Sai university (SSSIHL) administrators, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/11/my-may-2012-service-record-record.html, published in Nov. 2015.]

BTW this mail exchange was triggered by my blog post, Indian Supreme Court rejects petition arguing criminal defamation law as unconstitutional; Defamation law in India, http://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.in/2016/05/indian-supreme-court-rejects-petition.html, dated May 2016, whose contents I had sent to him over email.

In 2011-12 in my mail campaigns (there were some other mails besides the March to June 2012 mails mentioned above), I had limited myself to PRIVATE mails shared with colleagues and few friends but not on the Internet. Even that was viewed as inappropriate by some, including another person who also was shown FALSELY as Teaching Assistant who had left the Sai university and moved out of Puttaparthi a few months after Mahasamadhi (bodily passing away of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in April 2011). But as I had been informed either directly or by reliable sources, how senior faculty (--snip--) had been viciously humiliated by Naren Ramji (Registrar) and Sashidhara Prasad (vice-chancellor) in the months & year following Mahasamadhi (April 2011), I could not help but humiliate them back, PRIVATELY, using my designation issue. The vice-chancellor, Sashidhara Prasad, called me for a meeting through his PA in Jun/Jul 2012 (after I had finished my mail campaign which exhaustively documented my record tampering case and my services rendered to the Sai university), ostensibly on another matter I had raised related to an academic paper I wanted to publish with student feedback information included in it. I showed my contempt for them by refusing to meet him and asked for a written response instead. The PA was shocked; perhaps no other faculty/staff of Sai university would dare to refuse to meet the VC and ask for a written response! I did not get any written response, as expected. But my contempt for them had been well conveyed.

Once that was done, I felt I had done my duty bit to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba by putting up a PRIVATE fight for Sathya (Truth) & Dharma (Ethical behaviour) in the Sai university. I felt that insisting on an apology from the Sai university and demanding a proper service record from them was not appropriate, for a Sai spiritual aspirant, and would not be approved by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

I switched off from Sai university stuff (in mid 2012), and moved on to a new life in outside ashram Puttaparthi as an Indian CS & IT (Computer Science & Information Technology) academic reform activist-blogger, blogger on spirituality & religion, and focused on leading a spiritual recluse type of life.

After around two years, in May-June of 2014, Muddenahalli group started its really weird stuff of publicly giving Darshan, interview and discourses of a so called subtle body of Sathya Sai, which was invisible and inaudible to everybody except a so called communicator who claimed to be able to see and communicate with it, Madhusudhan Rao Naidu, and which was PUBLICLY endorsed by Shri B.N. Narasimhamurthy, Shri Indulal Shah, Mr. Isaac Tigrett and others including Prof. G.V. Prabhakar Rao (GVP), former faculty of my former dept., Dept. of Mathematics & Computer Science (DMACS), of the Sai university. GVP had had a lot of personal proximity to Bhagavan as, in the past (before I moved to Parthi in Oct. 2002) he used to walk behind Swami during darshan round for some years perhaps, and was then viewed as a sort of close assistant to Swami besides being faculty at the university campus. This Muddenahalli group weird stuff seems to have been privately endorsed at that time, May-June 2014 onwards, by then vice-chancellor Sashidhara Prasad (he publicly endorsed it the very next day after he stepped down from VC post of Sai university in Nov. 2014, by sitting on stage in Muddenahalli group's celebrations of Bhagavan's birthday then). To my utter surprise, in the months following the May 2014 dramatic events of Muddenahalli group, I started hearing that many (but not all) Parthi Sai devotees including ashram staff & university staff & hospital staff, are flocking there!

This forced me to get involved with Sai university affairs again. Rumours began to float that the VC, Sashidhara Prasad, believes in Madhusudan Rao Naidu too (besides Narasimhamurthy's dreams). Many people in Administrative block as well as among faculty, for whom Sashidhara Prasad had become a godlike figure as he had pushed through sixth pay commission increase for all regular employees, and regularization on payscale for many juniors, in Jul/Aug. 2011, resulting in dramatic jump in their salaries, started believing in or at least showing support for Madhusudan Rao Naidu's claims. Note that Sathya Sai in his public discourses had repeatedly advised devotees NOT to believe in such claims made by mediums and communicators. So, essentially, what the Raja/King (VC, Sashidhara Prasad) of the Sai university was doing was followed by the Praja/subjects (staff including faculty)!!!

A few faculty privately disagreed but were TERRIFIED of saying so publicly as they feared getting into the bad books of the VC! I had come to the above assessment a few months into the second half of 2014 (say August/Sept. 2014), based on inquiries I made with some staff in the university, and others in Puttaparthi. Now by Aug/Sep. 2014 I had come out of the Sai staff mode, and was back into the regular India world in which I had spent most of the first four decades of my life (in low-nonsense-tolerance, practical and quite democratic Mumbai/Bombay). Further, I was following a lot of prominent cases of injustice in India and in democratic countries of the West, and how people reacted to injustice and fought for justice. I had also read/viewed about history of dictatorship/power abuse in countries like Russia under Stalin, North Korea, Libya under Gaddafi ... as well as domineering kind of leaders like the cyclist Lance Armstrong and even --snip-- of BCCI/IPL.

It was clear as daylight to me that SSSIHL had been hijacked by Sashidhara Prasad & Narasimhamurthy, and that they had done a superb purge of anybody who had dared to oppose them aggressively, which would have made Stalin proud. Now the people who had fought Stalin and Lance Armstrong and --snip--, basically had to name them and criticize them for their wrong actions. Unless they had done that people would not have realized the mistakes of these people! As simple as that. The effective whistleblower has to name people and not just limit himself/herself to criticism of ideas which makes it only an intellectual exercise without giving anybody proof of wrongdoing that can hold up in an official investigation.

Sometime in Aug/Sep. 2014 I came to know that Sashidhara Prasad was shortly going to finish his VC term and that a shortlist had been made of new VC candidates. V. Chandrasekaran, HOD of DMACS, was one of the names shortlisted to be vice-chancellor of the Sai university!!! I freaked out!!!

Meanwhile I had also studied how democracies like the USA go through a PUBLIC vetting process before appointing key persons in USA government (e.g. head of Federal Reserve Bank, Treasury Secretary). I realized the importance of this, many times unpleasant, PUBLIC vetting process, as a mechanism to weed out flawed candidates from sitting in very powerful positions in USA govt. whose decisions may have tremendous impact on millions of USA citizens.

While I had not yet started my publicly name wrongdoers approach, I felt I need to do my bit of exposing Chandrasekaran's flaws as candidate for vice-chancellor and so I sent out private mails about it.

Eventually, an IISc. prof. of Material Science, K.B.R. Verma, who was not a Sai devotee, was made VC in Nov. 2014 (replacing Sashidhara Prasad), at a salary of Rs. 2 Lakhs per month (some say it is higher). Note that all earlier VCs during my stint in the Sai university from Jan. 2003 to Mar. 2012 were providing FREE SERVICE.

I was very relieved to know that somehow V. Chandrasekaran was not made vice-chancellor as that, in my considered view, would have been disastrous for the Sai university. I do not know whether my private mails at that time, being critical of Chandrasekaran, played any role in the final decision. In all probability, it may have not even been seen by the decision makers. Still, I felt as if I had done my bit to prevent a powermonger and unethical fellow who also seems to be very wealthy and uses wealth to buy influence, being made VC of the Sai university.

By end 2014 I had become a noted voice in the Sai fraternity through my much visited blog post on Muddenahalli, posted in July 2014 (Radio Sai article on recent Swami (Sathya Sai Baba) subtle form appearance controversy, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2014/07/radio-sai-article-on-recent-swami.html) which became a top Google Search result link for Muddenahalli subtle body searches, and where my view was that the service work being done by them is fine but "the claim that Swami is going to reside in Muddenahalli (and Kodaikanal) in His subtle form till He becomes 96 years old (solar calendar) (and provide discourses, darshan and instructions through chosen intermediaries), seems to me to be something related to the imagination of some very devoted and senior Sai devotee-leaders. I personally prefer to pray to Swami directly for divine direction (and help, many times :)) rather than go to an intermediary." So I was able to influence opinion to some small extent in the Sai devotee fraternity through my blog!!! This was quite a new experience and somewhat of a shock to me. But I realized that it was a responsibility that I should take up and not shirk.

Slowly I moved into a LIMITED reformer mode. While most of my (public) posts were about issues that needed to be addressed in ashram setups, I would not criticize any current people by name.

Meanwhile I also realized that I was not spiritually evolved enough to forgive Sashidhara Prasad, Naren Ramji and Chandrasekaran (without them apologizing and seeking my forgiveness) for their power abuse and humiliation actions against me. I realized that given my current level of spiritual evolution I wanted justice like most people in the regular world want justice. Like most people in the regular world, I was willing to forgive only after these three fellows acknowledged their power abuse and humiliation actions against me, repented for it and sought my forgiveness. I have in the past sought forgiveness of those who I had wronged intentionally or inadvertently. That brought closure to the issue, at least for me. So I expected the same from these three fellows. This was very different (say in end 2014/early 2015) from how I thought about it in 2011-12! I (i.e. my mind-personality; different from changeless Atma) had changed!

But how could I get justice? Was I willing to file a case in Penukonda court that would force these fellows to come clean in court and then apologize to me? No, I was not willing to do that as it not only would cost me lot of money and time, but I would then have had to leave Puttaparthi and move back to Dombivli/Mumbai where I could get some moral and other support from family & friends. Going to court is considered to be a very serious step in India and can invite very strong retaliation from the targets, especially if the targets are wealthy and politically powerful. And the very idea of going to court or the police station on a matter involving an institution founded by and bearing the name of my beloved Guru, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, was, and still is, anathema to me.

So I decided to follow the publicly name and expose approach by PUBLICLY documenting what they have done and naming them. As I put up my name and expose public blog posts and Facebook posts (those facebook posts got lot more visibility in Sai fraternity than blog posts) as well as mails to my mailing group, I expected some negative reactions and even threats. A few alumni staff and one non-alumni staff, in the university and the ashram, gave me dirty looks; one tried to brush his body against me (I think he lightly brushed his body against me but I don't recall it very clearly now, though I recall his aggressive posture towards me during those days, quite well) as I came down the steps of Sai Surya hotel (outside PN ashram). I exercised regularly, ate well and walked aggressively whenever I saw these fellows, showing them that I am willing to fight them, if it comes to that. What I had realized quite early in life was that, in such matters, far more than physical muscle power and strength, it is the mindset of a fighter that scares opponents. So even if I was on the thinner side, I showed them that I am willing to use all my strength and energy, (and also whatever spiritual power/thought wave power that I have), to fight them, if it came to that.

[Don't forget that it was four Sai university students/alumni in 1993 that knifed Swami's close servitor Radhakrishna, another Sai university alumnus, to death due to jealousy of his closeness to Swami and powerful position which, I was told, included power over some money matters. These four student/alumni attackers were later shot dead by the police.]

I was prepared to be beaten and even killed for these publicly name and expose posts, and even for my private critical of Chandrasekaran mails earlier around Aug/Sep. 2014. I had even written in private mails critical of Chandrasekaran around Aug/Sep 2014, that I was willing to be martyred like the apostles of Jesus who became the first Christian martyrs. I am quite sure these Aug/Sep 2014 private mails of mine would have got read by some of the guys in positions of power in the Sai university then. My physically fit and aggressive walk sent out the clear message to the few PN (Prasanthi Nilayam ashram) staff, including university staff that I mentioned above, that I am not going to be intimidated by them, and so they backed off. That reiterates my point that muscle power alone is not the issue in such matters. It is the willingness to fight that matters, and that willingness can overcome weakness of lesser muscle power. Of course, my plan was that I would fight only in self-defence to protect myself, and once the fight is over, make a police complaint against those who physically attacked me. And follow up that complaint by hiring a good lawyer. ... Fortunately, it never came to that as the few university and ashram staff who tried to be thugs/goondas backed off.

Rather interestingly, this aggressive walk and posture of mine got noticed by some roughneck-types on Chitravathi Road and elsewhere in Puttaparthi. One Muslim shop keeper with a somewhat long beard, whom I had no interactions with earlier, made an action of poking his two fingers into my two eyes as I crossed  him and his two friends while walking in the evening! I was taken aback. Note that I was wearing spectacles and his fingers did not even touch my spectacles. But it clearly was a signal of aggressive warning from him.

The next few days I tried to figure out who he was, where his shop was, and what his issue with me was. Slowly I realized that my aggressive walk was getting misinterpreted by these guys. I reached out to some Muslim shopkeepers (though not to this person). They realized that I am not having any aggression towards them. This guy did not repeat his aggressive action with me, and so that problem got resolved. I was prepared to file a police complaint against him if he had repeated it. Fortunately that was not required.

Similarly, a youth leader of Chitravathi Road (local Hindu guy), gave me a dirty look as I was walking on Chitravathi Road. Note that I had stopped wearing white-shirt-and-white-pant dress (official ashram staff dress) completely from mid-2012. So I would have been viewed by these people as somebody who is not staff and so will not be protected by ashram bosses.

On some other matter - Swacch Bharat/Swacch Puttaparthi initiative, this person and his associate leader got involved for the activity on Chitravathi Road. I used that opportunity to meet one of them, and thanked them for the initiative. I also offered to contribute to the expenses they had incurred in putting up waste collection bins on Chitravathi Road. The youth leader spoke well to me, and I think his group understood that I was not a threat to their leadership in the Chitravarthi Road area.

I also took care to ensure that I took on an aggressive posture while walking only when I came across those few university and ashram staff who had given me a dirty look or worse. I realized that inadvertent aggressive posture walk at other times was creating problems for me, as some people seem to have thought that I was having some plans to be the new don in town!!!!

Over the months after March 2015 as I began my public naming-and-exposing mainly of these three fellows (Sashidhara Prasad, Naren Ramji and V. Chandrasekaran), slowly and steadily I achieved my objective of successfully naming-and-exposing them publicly. Sashidhara Prasad by then was ex-VC and based in Mysore. So he could not do much to intimidate me. V. Chandrasekaran (wealthy guy), I presume, would have just complained to others in the ashram about me, and perhaps explored legal avenues for which I was, and still am, prepared. It is Naren Ramji and group who are the bullies of the university system. They tried to do some intimidation but in the face of my willingness to fight them in self-defence, and be willing to even die fighting them in self-defence, they backed off.

A few months ago I heard a rumour about Naren Ramji being considered to be made trustee of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. Now trustee positions may even turn out to be life term positions. Like in the case of Chandrasekaran being candidate for vice-chancellor of Sai university, I freaked out!!! But this time I wrote publicly against Naren Ramji being made trustee of Central Trust [Naren Ramji being considered for trustee position in SSSCT? My strong objections about it, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/12/naren-ramji-being-considered-for.html, dated Dec. 30th 2015].

Perhaps the above post would have made some negative impact on Naren Ramji being considered for trustee. Of course, that impact could have been minor or just ignored or no impact at all, among the real decision makers.

As of now, nobody else has been made trustee (two positions were made vacant, and they remain vacant for some months now).

My view, which I think seems to be in line with what mainstream media considers fair, is that only name-calling without providing evidence and/or arguments for the name-calling is unacceptable. But criticism which states that so-and-so has been unethical and involved in wrong-doing, backed by evidence and/or arguments, is fair, even if somewhat unpleasant.

...
[Some snippets of my part of previous mails in this same mail conversation are given below.]

My motivations for going public with my criticism of a few administrators in the Sai university are:
1) Frankly, I wanted to punish them for how they abused & bullied me using their power & position. The Internet provided me a way to punish them, after I had severed connections with them, stopped going to the ashram, and gathered the courage to expose them even though I was living in Puttaparthi (outside ashram).

2) Let other people who join Sai university or other Sai institutions know about the record tampering and power abuse indulged in, by these guys, and to view them with suspicion rather than as holy people who can be fully trusted.

3) A possibility that exposure will bring fear in administrators of Sai institutions that others too can do the same thing that I did, and thereby hold them back from doing malicious defamation and record tampering. That would be of great benefit to salaried staff in these Sai institutions as they are not in a position to fight the administrators like I did (due to my financial independence from them and my ability to make my case on social media (and in an Indian court of law, if needed)).

So my public posts on these matters, including very critical comments (teacher-drohis [those who cause harm to teachers] & Asathya [untruthful] and Adharma [unethical] crooks) against a few named administrators of the Sai university, is also an attempt to force reform in the system by bringing in fear of whistle-blower exposure and court/police cases for record tampering kind-of fellows in the Sai institution setup. It was a kind-of service to the many paid employees in the Sai institutions who are not in a position to challenge administrators like I could.

All this will make the PN ashram system strong and durable. I mean, no spiritual ashram system which indulges in nasty power mongering and nasty politics, will survive the test of time. So bosses of PN ashram system must have FEAR of action from employees, volunteers and/or govt. if they indulge in nasty power mongering and/or nasty politics. And the bosses should also know that good work that they do will be appreciated by the Sathya Sai devotee community and/or the govt.
...
And BTW it was just not them showing me with a wrong designation (very junior designation of Teaching Assistant) but humiliating me with it. ... That's the issue. How will you feel if --company-name-snipped-- bosses tell you that you are a programmer trainee and not a software engineer, and say it in a way to humiliate you? [Humiliation is one of the ways with which powermongers attempt to acquire dominance and control over people who dare to challenge them.]

The (former) HOD Chandrasekaran is a nasty fellow. So are Naren Ramji, the Registrar, and Sashidhara Prasad, the (former) vice-chancellor. ... They thought that they could bully me and that I could do nothing about it. So I had to teach them a lesson. With bullies, only powerful retaliation works - nice words do not get you anywhere.
...

I used the words: teacher-drohis (those who cause harm to teachers) and (Asathya & Adharma/untruthful and unethical) crooks for them, not frauds. I think I am justified in using these words as they combined together to deny any wrong doing in the Registrar showing me as a Teaching Assistant (and saying I was a Seva Dal and not a Visiting Faculty), and instead some of them tried to blame me!!!

Note that the action of showing me as Teaching Assistant is a CRIMINAL OFFENCE for which, if I wanted to, I could file a criminal complaint in Penukonda court against them. Therefore I am justified in labelling them as teacher-drohis and crooks.

The right attitude for them would have been to apologize for their mistake and confirm that my designation is visiting faculty. That they have not done till date!!!
...

The big issue was that Indulal Shah and Shashidhara Prasad continued to stay on as trustee of Central Trust and vice-chancellor of Sai university respectively even though they were backing a breakaway group!!! Unthinkable in a professionally managed company, or even a professionally managed NGO.
...
Yes it (the dispute over Muddenahalli group claims) has become very ugly. Treachery is a very ugly thing.
...
The Central Trust which appointed Sashidhara Prasad as vice-chancellor did not endorse the belief. So Sashidhara Prasad should have quit as vice-chancellor (in 2011 itself) and joined hands with Narasimhamurthy's trust. That would have been a clean break. If a Google top guy starts following the Yahoo top boss's instructions the right thing is for the Google top guy to quit Google and join Yahoo, isn't it?

But Sashidhara Prasad stayed in the powerful seat of vice-chancellor of Sai university and was essentially following Narasimhamurthy's instructions as he thought that Swami was speaking/communicating through him (and later Madhusudhan Naidu), from Jul 2011 to Nov. 2014. That was the conflict of interest. He should have quit as VC and joined Narasimhamurthy in Jul 2011 itself - then it would have been ethical.
...
Belief in subtle body alone does not create conflict of interest. Holding official Sai orgn. office bearer position (official Sai orgn. publicly dismisses the claim of subtle body of Muddenahalli), and following subtle body, creates a conflict of interest.
...
I am afraid that some in top positions in Parthi orgn. were not following the principles taught by Swami, especially in the very traumatic period of a year or two after Mahasamadhi. So there was an atmosphere of power craze and money craze, and some hypocrisy. However, there were, and still are, many nice people too who, however, dare not say anything publicly against the top bosses when the top bosses do something wrong. ... But, now in mid 2016, things in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system seem to be much better. I think people realize that power craze and money craze is not good and that Swami's teachings about ceiling on desires, self-sacrifice etc. are the real thing for a spiritual ashram system to be focused on.
...
I am out of the Parthi ashram system. But I must also say that I did get a lot of benefit from interactions with the nice guys in the system and, most importantly for me, very good spiritual guidance from my beloved and revered Gurudev, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
...
As Muddenahalli group started going abroad and getting great responses from Sai devotees abroad, they became a DIVISIVE threat to the Sathya Sai movement internationally. Given this situation, sometime around March 2015, I got involved in the matter as a blogger giving my frank views about the matter that the claim of Madhusudan Rao Naidu is false. In a very short period of time both on Facebook and on blog, my writings on the Muddenahalli matter became rather well known, and so I started getting targeted by Muddenahalli believers. Initially it was polite but as I did not budge from my stand, some of them started becoming nasty. As they questioned my background as a Sai university teacher (Honorary Staff/Honorary Faculty/Visiting Faculty designations), I had to reveal the reasons why I quit Sai university. So the private email campaign stuff was made public. That made me some enemies in Parthi. It was a tough six to nine months as I came to terms with my new role as a whistle-blower as well as Muddenahalli group opponent (as viewed by some Muddenahalli group supporters like Mervyn Hughes referred to below). Now things are calmer as I have shown them that I can fight back.

One of the recent showdowns was with an anonymous kind-of Facebook user called Mervyn Hughes who attacked me with some wild allegations. I threatened to file a cyber police complaint against him. Perhaps that scared him off, as he deleted the offending posts (but I retained the screenshots on my blog as evidence in case he attacks me again). Just in case you want to have a quick look, here's the first of three blog posts on the matter (other two posts are provided as links in it), Refuting Mervyn Hughes' latest attacks on me, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/04/refuting-mervyn-hughes-latest-attacks.html, dated April 12th 2016.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Five Year Inner Journey (Puttaparthi, November 2007)

A Five Year Inner Journey
Puttaparthi
November 2007

[Note-2016. This is a letter I wrote to my elder sister, elder brother & family in Nov. 2007. I had moved to Puttaparthi in Oct. 2002. I have snipped some very personal stuff in the letter, and added clarifications within [Ravi-2016 ... end-Ravi-2016] markers. But I have not changed any of the sentences that are retained below, to ensure that I do not alter the Nov. 2007 view that I had.
I decided to share this then personal letter publicly as something appropriate (it may be of help to some readers) to add to my kind-of autobiographical account; please see my post, An Indian Software Techie's (My) Material and Spiritual Journey So Far (till Sept. 2002); Ravi S. Iyer Autobiography, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/06/an-indian-software-techies-my-material.html for more on it. end-Note-2016]

Dear Vishalam, Mani, Rajamani & Meera,

It is a little over 5 years ago, in October 2002, when I ‘retired’ and moved to Puttaparthi. It has been a very interesting foray into spirituality or, to be more precise, living life with a deeper spiritual outlook.

Am I happy in Puttaparthi?
I think you all may wonder, at times, whether I am ‘happy’ in Puttaparthi. Our relatives also may be asking you about me. Some may perhaps be even saying that I am wasting my life :-). Further, sometimes, my stomach problem troubles me and very naturally, out of love and concern for me, you folks may wonder how I am coping with it. You folks and other relatives may feel bad that I am ‘all alone’ and perhaps think that at such times I may be badly missing having family people around me for help, and, in general, regretting my ‘semi-sannyasihood’. [Ravi-2016: sannyasi means monk, so semi-sannyasihood is semi-monkhood i.e. neither a monk nor a family guy, but somewhere in between :-) end-Ravi-2016.]

I thought I should write, in some detail, about my inner journey over these five years, with the objective of answering the questions I raised above. I think that may help you folks in being more comfortable with and understanding my ‘semi-sannyasihood’ and also help you folks to answer other relatives’ queries, most of which, I am sure, are genuine queries born out of love and concern for me. You may also better understand my odd behaviour at times :-). I would also like to clarify that I am not writing this letter with any other objectives whatsoever (like wanting to bore others about my story :-)). In fact, the thought of writing this letter has come only as a response to the love and concern you all have shown towards me.

I expect this letter to be somewhat longish, as I want to be sure I communicate my thoughts and feelings properly, so you folks will have to bear with my long-windedness. As some of the things I will mention are somewhat sensitive, I earnestly request that this letter be limited to the immediate family only i.e. Vishalam, Mani, Rajamani and Meera (Rahul and Priya may be a little young to understand this letter). However I am not sure if Mani and Rajamani will have the time to go through this loonnng letter. [Ravi-2016 Now I have decided to share it publicly as it may be of interest to some readers. end-Ravi-2016] --snip--

Having the time of my Life
I am having the time of my life (like in the English song - hopefully some of you have heard it). The past 5 years have been the happiest and most enjoyable period of my life. [It is not that I was not happy in Dombivli/Mumbai as I was quite happy there. But I am happier now.] During this period I have been able to do a lot of things which I had been wanting to do for years but could not do so. For example, leading a simple and hassle-free life in a small town/village, getting a clearer and better understanding of Swami’s teachings, getting some sort of idea about Swami’s life (physical form) and interaction with people, reading lots of spiritual books, meditation, self-analysis, living in a community which is trying to lead a loving life with minimum negative emotions like ego, envy, hate, etc., interacting with many people on spirituality and life in general and so on. [Ravi-2016 Swami is Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh, India. end-Ravi-2016] I think the opportunity to live in Sathya Sai Baba’s ashram village and having his devotees as my community/satsang has been truly wonderful, enjoyable and beneficial for me.

Faith in the Atma
I have developed unshakeable faith that I am (or my reality is) an unchanging, ever peaceful truth which we call Atma. I am not the body, nor mind, nor ego, nor intellect but these are just things that are worn temporarily by the Atma for a lifetime. When the time comes for the Atma to leave this body, nothing ever will happen to me as I am the changeless Atma and not the body. By Swami’s grace my faith in these tenets is really strong now. However I am far away from experiencing such reality and living in that reality all the time, which is what I understand the state of Jivanmukta to be. But just developing this unshakeable faith itself has been a great achievement for me.

Live in Love
I have developed deep faith that the best way to live life is to treat it as a wonderful gift of God and spend as much time as possible in the emotion and feeling of Love. As Swami says, “Love is God. … Live in Love. … That is the best way to God”. The community here and my stress-free Seva activities give me an extraordinary opportunity to practice this teaching and I must say that I have really enjoyed and continue to enjoy this journey of Love.

I have also better understood the balance between Love and discipline. I have learnt, to some extent, how to Live lovingly without letting people take unfair advantage of that loving attitude. Of course, I have a long, long way to go before I lead a fully loving life. But I have been able to make quite some progress down this road in the past 5 years. Specifically the community and ambience of Puttaparthi has allowed me to enjoy this wonderful exchange of giving love and receiving love.

Let me also say that all folks in Puttaparthi are not angels. One particular example will illustrate it best. One person (it is inappropriate to call him a gentleman) --snip-- was notorious for his Seva in --snip--. He used to shout at people (or rather, curse in --snip--), sometimes manhandle them and, in general, exuded anger --snip--. When people used to complain about him (and quite a few others who were similar) to Swami, Swami would say that he has kept the rakshasa here (or something like that) because if he is let loose on the outside world he would become uncontrolled and wreak havoc on the world :-). [Ravi-2016: rakshasa means demon. end-Ravi-2016] Like the ultra specialist doctors get the most complicated physical health cases, there are some really complicated mental cases in Puttaparthi who find succour in Swami.

Overall there are many, many wonderful people in Puttaparthi and I just avoid the ‘rakshasas’ and have my relations with the wonderful people.

Some Idea about physical form of Swami
Now I have got some idea, I repeat, just some idea about Swami as a person (physical form as against formless aspect of Swami). It is truly fascinating to see and hear about various interactions/incidents of devotees with Swami. Being in Puttaparthi I have got to know many long time devotees who have had some truly wonderful experiences with Swami. Personally, I have experienced that Swami has responded to my heartfelt prayer (but only when the prayer was really heartfelt) and also have experienced that he can just read me (my mind) through and through.

However there are a lot of hard-to-understand actions of Swami. He has a human side to his behaviour and this mixture of human and divine in a physical form is utterly fascinating to me. Now, I am able to much better understand the life stories of other spiritual greats like Shirdi Sai Baba, Ramana Maharshi, Ramakrishna Paramhamsa etc. In India, our reverence for spiritual people is so much that fantastic stories are built around their lives even in their lifetime. And after the spiritual great gives up his/her body, the myth and the reality of their life story gets so intertwined that future generations get a pretty distorted picture about the spiritual great.

I am so satisfied that I have been able to observe and study, over these five years, one really extraordinary spiritual great persona in his lifetime and see this very curious interplay of human and divine in the same person. For example, Swami’s anger is legendary and when he decides to ignore somebody, his pointed ignoring is also legendary. It is fascinating to see this mixture of extraordinary Love and sometimes furious anger. It is also very absorbing to see his efforts in trying to change society and the progress (sometimes lack of progress) in these efforts. From an intent point of view there is just no question about Swami’s greatness in terms of Love and Service to Humanity, but even his projects need people to carry them out and one sees the play of Divine Will and human limitations of people carrying out the plan. In my mind it is something like the Vanara Sena helping Rama fight and win over Ravana. [Ravi-2016 Vanara means monkeys, Sena means army. end-Ravi-2016] Rama, inspite of his divinity, had to manage with the Vanara Sena and all the limitations they had. [One very poignant moment in Ramayana is when Lakshmana is knocked down senseless on the battlefield, seeing which, Rama is deeply affected. This illustrates the mixture of divine and human in Rama.]

Not Regular for Darshan and am just a Low-Profile Recluse
I must also say that I do not go regularly for Darshan nowadays. During the earlier days of my stay here, I was very regular. Those days gave me the little experiences which have built my faith in Swami’s divinity. But I also realised that Swami is a very tough Guru. I still have quite some failings (I tend to blame my samskaras for this :-)) and feel that I must first focus on overcoming those failings. And I am so happy that Swami is a tough Guru as that is exactly what I need to overcome my failings. (As Swami says, what is the use of a Doctor who does not give the required bitter medicine to a patient because the patient does not like it, and instead gives more palatable medicine which however is not effective.) Besides I tend to prefer reading and meditation to bhajan, veda chanting and cultural programmes. Of course my stomach problem also does not allow me to stay in mandir for long periods.

Even if I am not regular for Darshan, I get to hear a lot of accounts of direct experiences others have had with Swami and that itself is so wonderful to hear. Of course I know many of these people quite well now and know that they do not fib.

Let me also say that I am a small guy here. I just teach some computer programming Lab courses (important people in Academia are those who are Ph.Ds, publish papers and teach tough theory courses). And as I am not so regular for Darshan my visibility in the ashram is also quite low.

I live somewhat like a recluse. I have my circle of contacts here but it is a limited circle. I am very happy with this low profile as that frees up more time for my spiritual efforts. Most well known people here are deeply committed to Swami’s mission and are usually extremely busy. I admire their dedication but I have realised that I am not comfortable being a dedicated missionary. My path is some Seva + some spiritual effort + enjoying life. By spiritual effort I do not mean some heavy meditation or prayer but more of spiritual reading, introspection and leading a loving and enjoyable life.

Comfortable Living with Myself
I have become extremely comfortable living with myself. I truly enjoy my solitude. Most people become very uncomfortable with solitude. Perhaps because of my samskaras I tend to prefer solitude, though I do enjoy the company of sattwic people.

Detached Love
I am, out of my own free will, happily leading the life of a sort of sannyasi (semi-sannyasi). I have withdrawn from family and try to use my available free time and unfettered mind to focus on my efforts to get into the deeper realities of life or just explore and enjoy life. Due to this mind-set, I do not interact much with you all. Sometimes you may feel that I never call up or even email and only you’ll have to call me. Please do not feel bad that I do not call you. Please understand that I am like a sannyasi. I have a lot of love for all of you. But it is a detached sort of love.

However I have absolutely no problem if you call me up. I am and always will be happy to talk to you all and meet you all.

Mentally Very Comfortable with My Health Problem
I have come to terms with and am mentally very comfortable with my health problem, especially in the context of living alone and in an ashram kind of environment. This is a very important point, especially from a perspective of addressing your loving concerns.

Typical Sannyasi issues
Let me first tell you about the father of a devotee from Dombivli. This gentleman’s father had become a sannyasi and left home and family, and I believe his family had to undergo a lot of financial and other trouble because of him leaving the family to fend for itself. Some years later, after the sannyasi’s son (the devotee from Dombivli) had got settled (financially OK and married, with children), he visited his father in some ashram. His father was suffering from some health problems and there was nobody to care for him. So his father had become quite unhappy and was regretting having become a sannyasi (or something like that).

Such a situation may be quite common perhaps and so I think it is very natural that some of you may be worried about how I am managing in Puttaparthi with my health problem. Let me assure you all that I am extremely happy in Puttaparthi and have never ever felt unhappy about being alone even when my health problem became a little acute. Never have I regretted, even for a fleeting moment, my move to Puttaparthi and ‘semi-sannyasihood’.

My Health Problem As Of Now
--snip--

Manage with Puttaparthi Level of Medical Care
In general, I have decided that I will avail of medical facilities available in Puttaparthi and manage with that. There are quite a few people in Puttaparthi who are doing exactly that. I am completely prepared to face life with Puttaparthi level of medical care, even if certain facilities are not available here. The faith that I am the Atma and faith in the formless aspect of Swami have enabled me to look at my health problems as something that is happening to an instrument and not my reality. So these health problems do not really scare me or worry me. However, like Bhagawan says, the body is an instrument which is a gift of God and so we should keep it in good shape (to the extent possible). Therefore I definitely take adequate care of the body and also consult with the Doctors in Puttaparthi when required.

But I am not worried about the body. You may feel it is a little odd and inappropriate for me to say this (as my problem is quite minor) yet I would like to say it:  I feel I am not afraid of death now. If it is time for this body to be given up, so be it. I will just pray to God and be in the awareness of the eternal, unchanging, ever-peaceful and immortal Atma. I am saying this because, in my opinion, often it is the fear of death and fear of suffering that makes many people very unhappy and uneasy if they are alone during a bout of illness. I would like you to know that, by the Grace of God, my mental state is such that I am extremely comfortable with my solitude even when I am having a health problem. So you need not have any feeling that, “Paavam, avan ke odambu sari illai - thaniya irkaan anga – kashtama irkum”. [Ravi-2016 Tamil for, Oh poor guy! His health is not good. He is living alone - must be difficult. end-Ravi-2016] I assure you, in all honesty, that is certainly not the case with me. I don’t think I could have said all this 5 years ago. But my inner journey of the past 5 years has certainly, by the Grace of God, made me mentally very comfortable with my health problem.

Now, I am not saying that I am above pain and suffering like some great yogi :-). Not at all. My physical tolerance for pain is just the same as it was before. But mentally, I am much more comfortable than before, with accepting any pain and suffering, even when I am all alone.

Medico Legal Issues
As I am not a ‘full sannyasi’ but only a ‘semi-sannyasi’ :-), medico legal issues apply to me (like it applies to any other citizen of the country) and legally only next-of-kin have certain rights. Therefore I feel I must not hide my health problem from you all (though it is certainly not a serious problem). Besides when you ask me about my health I am very reluctant to utter lies.

Semi-Sannyasi Dharma
I feel that, as a ‘semi-sannyasi’, I have a dharma different from family people. That dharma, as I understand it, is that I limit my contacts with the outside world and for my health problems too, I manage with myself and my community in Puttaparthi. The community in Puttaparthi is such that they can manage to provide some support for almost anything in Puttaparthi. Outside Puttaparthi is another story. Swami keeps most regular ashram staff very busy and while they can organize things in Puttaparthi using local help, taking a few days off to accompany somebody to Bangalore is not very easy to do. --snip--

Most people in Puttaparthi are not sannyasis or even ‘semi-sannyasis’. They are regular family people (even if some of them are unmarried) who live in Puttaparthi and go to their relatives during holidays/breaks. But, of course, there are some sannyasis and ‘semi-sannyasis’ like me, who have distanced themselves from their families and treat this community as their world now. [Like the ‘Mera Naam Joker’ song, ‘Jeena yahaan marna yahaan, Iske siva jaana kahaan’ :-) [Ravi-2016 Hindi film title meaning, 'My name is Joker', https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mera_Naam_Joker; its song title/first lines meaning, (Have to) live here (have to) die here, besides this place where else to go. end-Ravi-2016]

--snip--

Relatives’ Queries / Concern
If relatives or friends ask about me please tell them that I am very happy in Puttaparthi and that I am overjoyed with the spiritual ambience that Bhagawan has created here and that I have received wonderful spiritual guidance indirectly, i.e. not in person, from Bhagawan. [Ravi-2016 I think I would have meant via public discourses of Swami and through other persons who shared their experiences with Swami, with me end-Ravi-2016.] If they ask about my health you may tell them that I continue to have some stomach problems (no need to get into details) but that I am managing with the medical services available in Puttaparthi. And if they do raise the issue of, ‘Paavam, thaniya irkaan anga’ [Ravi-2016 Tamil for, Poor chap! He is living alone there. end-Ravi-2016], do tell them that I simply enjoy my solitude even when my stomach problem troubles me. If they are not convinced, specifically tell them that, never do I feel that nobody is here to help me when my stomach problem troubles me.

The objective of my suggesting that relatives or friends can be informed in this manner (only if they ask about me) is that I feel it will address their loving concern. It certainly is NOT an ego issue as if I want to project that I am happy (even if I am unhappy). I feel that their love demands that I respond and address their concern truthfully, and the truth is that I am very happy here even when my stomach problem acts up. By the way, some relatives may not appreciate such elaborate responses (indirect spiritual guidance, overjoyed with the spiritual ambience etc.), so in such cases please tone down the response to just, “He is happy in Puttaparthi”.

Conclusion
Ah!!! It feels so nice that I have been able to get all this off my chest. --snip--

That’s it. If you have managed to read till this point, I thank you immensely for your kind indulgence :-). Perhaps this may allow you folks to understand my peculiar behaviour better now.

I pray to Bhagawan to shower His Grace on all of you.

Love and Warm Regards



Ravi Iyer
--snip--

==== End of A Five Year Inner Journey document ===============================

Ravi: I had sent the above document (as a Word document attachment) via email to Vishalam and other(s) on Nov. 23rd 2007 (Swami's birthday). Vishalam responded on 26th Nov. 2007 (over email) [slightly edited only to fix typo kind-of issues, besides --snip-- and clarifications within [Ravi-2016 ... end-Ravi-2016] markers:]

Dear Ravi,

It was very nice to receive a letter from you. I got the full 8 page letter and I read it completely. [Ravi-2016: In the covering email to Vishalam & others, I had asked for a confirmation that they got the full letter (8 pages). end-Ravi-2016] --snip--

I feel so happy that you are able to get whatever you have wanted out of  life. Not for a moment have I felt any pity for you when you took the decision to take the path of self realisation. Initially I was a little worried that you might have taken such a decision immaturely and therefore regret it.

But on talking to you I have realised that you have taken to this after a lot of deliberation knowing fully well what you were in for. and whenever anybody talks to me about you I always tell them that you are very happy and that is what matters.

Ravi, you have risen above a normal mundane existence and I only pray that you go up in the spiritual ladder. I always feel that in your previous birth itself you must have started this spiritual journey and are therefore pursuing it now quite early in life.

In a way, I am also trying to lead a less complicated life. I have to constantly answer people's query 'why did you leave your job, how are you passing your time, you are sitting at home now.' [Ravi-2016 Vishalam is a medical doctor. She took voluntary premature retirement from her senior doctor position in Mumbai's municipal corporation. She was attached to a municipal hospital in Chembur, Mumbai prior to her voluntary retirement. end-Ravi-2016]

I am trying to enjoy every moment of life by savouring every moment, seeing the stars, looking at the moon, doing yoga to take care of my health, I go for walk everyday with Mani thereby spending time with him and also trying to keep him fit. I go to a children's remand home at Mankhurd on alternate days for 2 hrs. I attend to their medical problems and also try to give them love. Many of them are destitute or have very bad home conditions. This [Ravi-2016: service to remand home children end-Ravi-2016] gives me immense pleasure and I Iook forward to going there.

Of course I am very much into the every day life, I also take care of our --snip--, I have not detached myself from the world of Maya.

I fully understand what you are trying to convey.

Your health problems - don't worry, leave it to God. Of course I know that you are not worrying. I can come anytime when you want for the tests. You just tell me when you want to do them.

Once again, it is not right to say I am proud of you but I fully understand your attitude and your inner quest.

All of us here are fine. Rahul is coming on Dec 25 and will be here for 3 weeks. My mother-in law is keeping good health and is fine. [Ravi-2016: Rahul is Vishalam's (only) son who was (and is still) based in California, USA.]

Mani has read a part of your letter and will read it fully shortly. [Ravi-2016: Later she wrote that Mani had read the whole letter. end-Ravi-2016]

Love to you and take care.

Vishalam

-----------------------------

[My response (on 27th Nov. 2007) to Vishalam's mail was mainly inline within her mail contents. Here I have presented it as non-inline [with contextual info. within square brackets and in italics, when required].]

Dear Vishalam & Mani,

I am so happy that you both found the time to go through my loonng letter. In a letter one is able to convey a lot more than over a phone call. So now I am very comfortable that you know both about my journey of the past five years and my mind-set as of now.
...
I am not sure about having risen above mundane existence etc. :-), as I still lead a fairly regular life without doing anything that one traditionally expects spiritual people to do (like long meditation, or deep prayer or austerities). And I also have a lot of failings. But I guess I now have some small insights into my reality and have also got a much, much better theoretical understanding of the Hindu view of the reality of life (both the Vedantic/Jnana view as well as the Bhakti view). And many thanks for your prayers about my spiritual progress. I really appreciate that.
...
I can certainly understand how you are able to savour the experience of life, now that you have the leisure to explore life more deeply. I pray to God to give you deeper and more enjoyable experiences of this wonderful journey of life.
...
[In response to her visits to Mankhurd children's remand home:]
I think this is very good and I am sure that down the line, if not already, you will not only be giving love but also receiving their love.
...
[In response to her still being in every day life:]
Of course, one has to play one's role in the great drama of life. I too, keep track of my --snip-- :-).
...
[In response to her willingness to come anytime to help me with (medical) tests:]
Thank you so much for your offer to help.
...
I am so happy that you have been able to appreciate my unusual attitude to life. Thanks for all your support.
...
Saw the second mail which said that Mani had read the entire letter (8 pages). Mani, thanks a lot for taking the time to read my entire letter. As I mentioned earlier I am very comfortable now that you know both about my journey of the past five years and my mind-set as of now.
...
Do give my love and regards to Maami (your mother-in-law). Very happy to know that Rahul will soon be spending some time with you'll.

Love and Warm Regards

Ravi 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Union Minister Piyush Goyal gives inaugural address at Sathya Sai World Youth Festival at Puttaparthi

First, some info. about the World Youth Festival at Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi. Here's the associated website, http://youthfest.sathyasai.org/. It is being held from 12th to 14th July 2016. The theme of the festival is, "LOVE IS THE SOURCE, LOVE IS THE PATH, LOVE IS THE GOAL". Photographs of the inaugral day function held on 12th July 2016, can be seen here, https://www.facebook.com/radiosai/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1115934968495640.

The Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, providing his best wishes for the function through a tweet, https://twitter.com/narendramodi/status/752843324936126464, "My best wishes to all my young friends gathered for the Sathya Sai World Youth Festival at Prashanthi Nilayam. @ssssoindia"

I (Ravi) sent a tweet response: "@narendramodi Thank you Hon'ble PM for your support - From a Sai devotee. Jai Sairam!"

Union minister of state, Shri Piyush Goyal, was the chief guest for the inaugural function.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piyush_Goyal:
Piyush Goyal is the Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines in the Government of India. He is currently a Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and was earlier the National Treasurer of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He headed the BJP's Information Communication Campaign Committee and oversaw the publicity and advertising campaign of the party including the social media outreach for the Indian General Elections 2014.
--- end wiki extract ---


Above: Hon'ble Union minister, Piyush Goyal, and Hon'ble minister for IT for Andhra Pradesh, Dr. Palle Raghunatha Reddy, offering their obeisance at the Mahasamadhi of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Pic courtesy: Radio Sai


Above pic is from Shri Piyush Goyal's Facebook post,
https://www.facebook.com/PiyushGoyalOfficial/photos/a.214645462039941.1073741826.165714096933078/586901974814286/. The text on the page is, "Offering prayers & seeking blessings at Sathya Sai Temple at Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh."

I (Ravi) added a comment on the above Facebook post:
Thank you Hon'ble Union minister sir for the visit to Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi. We appreciate the encouragement provided by the visit. - From a Sai devotee.
-----

Here's a video of Shri Piyush Goyal's speech at the function, Inaugural Address at Sathya Sai World Youth Festival in Puttaparthi (Andhra Pradesh), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8T7lG7Msk8, 33 min 18 secs, streamed live on Jul 12, 2016.

Here are some excerpts of the speech:

I pay my most humble respects to the divine Swami - somebody whom I had only one occasion to see, not even meet. I was sitting there [Ravi: pointing to the verandah area behind him] amongst other friends - I would think more than 15 years ago. Swamiji came by [Ravi: pointing to the verandah area again]. There were very lovely kirtan bhajans. But that one moment has left an indelible mark in my mind. I am indeed very grateful to (the organizers) for giving me this opportunity to once again visit and relive those lovely memories I have of Prasanthi Nilayam. It was indeed a great privilege as I saw the young children walk in from around the world and one almost felt empowered with the strength of the room. The power that was generated by all the young boys and girls in this room. My salutations to Swamiji and my best wishes to each one of you from all around the world who has come to participate in this festival of love, festival of joy, festival of divinity. And I do hope each one of you will take back not only great memories but a great message from this three day deliberation.
...
Thank you once again for helping me relive my memory and in some sense, pay a debt of gratitude that I have always had for Swami Sathya Sai Babaji who at one critical juncture in my life had impacted my own life, had impacted my future very deeply. And, in some sense, it would not be wrong if I was to say that the very fact that I am able to stand here today has in some sense a link to something that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Babaji did in my life for which I shall for ever be grateful to him and to this organization. [Applause]

It is 90 years since Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba came on this earth. 90 years of divinity, 90 years of preaching goodness, and I think for all of us, he shall always be within us. He shall always be within our heart and soul. So I would think the samadhi truly [Ravi: gesturing to Samadhi behind him], only helps us reignite our faith, helps us relive our good memories, helps us remember him with all the joy and happiness, and as I see his picture right in front of me [Ravi: gesturing in front of him], I think today he has the same twinkle in the eye and joy on his face, which every young person yearns for, and that is the image of Swami that I think we all carry in our heart, in our minds, and that is the image that inspires all of us to look up to him, to worship him, to learn from him and to follow his divine path.

In some sense, I think he was born to reestablish the rhythm of righteousness, and also repair many of the evils, many of the ills that our society was plagued with. Over the years many good things have happened to our nation. Many unfortunate events have unfolded. I think it is the continued tradition of India that we respect our elders, we respect people of good thinking. We respect people who preach goodness on earth. And that respect - such holy people have, in some sense, catalyzed India's immense spiritual wealth in the service of humanity.

And Swamiji through his messages - I had the privilege to just scan through this lovely book that you have brought out on this auspicious occasion, 90 Divine Interactions. And, to my mind, none of us need to go beyond the 90 small snippets that are captured in this book. It's truly wonderful. Each one of the small lessons and sir, as you mentioned about power, I think the entire power lies over there [Ravi: pointing to the Mahasamadhi].

As I embark on my path to light up the homes of possibly fifty (to) fifty five million homes which still are deprived of this basic amenity of power, I think on the one hand I have the divine blessing of God. On the other hand, I am sure I have the goodwill of each one of you. [Applause]

And on page 6 it does say, the power is in his divine hands. And, in that sense, at the ashram of Baba which is spreading the importance of human values particularly among the youth, I am reminded of the words of George Bernard Shaw which I disagree (with). George Bernard Shaw had once said, youth is wasted on the young. I think, looking at the strength of the young boys and girls present here, I think George Bernard Shaw has been proved wrong at Prasanthi Nilayam. I think youth is invested in our young. I think youth empowers our young. To think big, to aim big. To work better. You also said, to plan better. To achieve better. To focus better. And ultimately live a life which one can be proud of, at the end of whatever term the Lord gives each one of us.

In fact it is a tribute to the young boys and girls that when I embarked on this program of electrification, while everybody worked hard to achieve good results, it is 500 young boys and girls, young engineers, not coming from IITs and IIMs, coming from very humble background, small engineering colleges, most of them selected because they lived in villages which did not have electricity, yet persevered and became engineers. 500 young boys and girls whom we selected as Gramin Vidyutikaran Abhyantas - these are soldiers for village electrification. These young 500 boys and girls provided the power to this program and truly are a tribute to this massive task we have embarked on to achieve electrification of every home in India. And it is these young boys and girls because they had the passion, the energy, the desire to see electricity in every home. They had felt the absence of electricity in their childhood. They wanted to give back. They wanted to serve society. They wanted to participate in nation building. Its those young boys and girls who in some sense embody the power of youth, who reflect the power, the dynamism that's there in each one of you. And I am sure, just each one of you in this room, once you take it upon yourself to live the ideals of Swamiji, can make a difference to society, can make a difference to the world we are living in. [Applause]
...
Swamiji had said, the mind sees separateness, love sees unity. And, in fact, in most of his writings and all through the Prasanthi Nilayam when I was taking my morning walk, I saw his words: Love is the source. Love is the path. Love is the goal.

And, in some sense, the body, the soul and the divine are united through love. Chardin a very famous philosopher had said: We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

That spirituality is within each one of us. It is in our mind, its in our thinking. Its in our lives. Its not something that the Lord has to bestow on one and may not bestow on the other. Its there amongst each one of us in this room. It is for us to recognize it, for us to respect it, for us to practise it, for us to live it.

In fact, Swami Vivekanand, another great saint who lived few years on earth, whose youth and whole life was encapsulated in a very short span on this earth, but who left behind memories, who left behind philosophies and messages which will outlive generations.
...

I think we have been given this human existence to be able to realize something divine. And I am sure that the lessons, the learnings that we have at this youth festival will give each one of us something to ponder about, something to reflect on as we go back to the real world after three days. And I am sure the more each one of you works, the more each one of you works hard to take care of your body, to make a healthy body out of your lives, you will be able to serve the Lord, serve society in a far better manner, in a far fruitful manner.

Love your country - desh [Ravi:Hindi for country]. After all, what can be a greater thing than respect for our country. Than the desire to give back to our country. Wasn't it Kennedy who said, ask not what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for the country.

Its ultimately a life that we are leading where we can leave behind (as) an unsung existence. Or we can leave behind something in the footprints of time, which you can be remembered by, which you can be looked up for.

In fact, Baba has observed, when there is harmony in the home there will be order in the nation. When there is order in the nation there will be peace in the world. And I think the fact that so many nations are represented here, each one of us desirous of peace and harmony in our homes, in our nations, collectively will result in peace in this world.
...
It is unfortunate that today many misguided youth are going down the wrong path in India and other parts of the world. Possibly (its) time that the message of Swami is taken all across the world, to the youth of the world to come back to the path of peace, to come back to the path of harmony, to come back to the path of service to their nation, rather than getting lost in ways and means which can only lead to sadness, which can only lead to unhappiness.

In fact, there are examples galore about people who have served the nation, served the nation gloriously. Be it Swami Vivekanand, be it Mahatma Gandhi who led the freedom struggle and without a drop of blood, through the path of satyagraha, through a peaceful path gave all of us independence, the 70th year of which we are celebrating this year.
...

Baba had said, the greatest fear that a man can have is the fear of losing God's love. I was reading also in this book, don't run after Baba, don't run after God, don't run after divinity. Its there within you. Practise it. Its not only going to be the prayers that you say. Its your deeds that are going to bring divinity into your lives.

On page 46, there is a small snippet that Baba had once articulated, don't ask, He will certainly give.
...
Its a strong message that Swamiji has also given when he says, only good comes out of good.
...
Lord Krishna, who is the embodiment of Love, in His message of Bhagavad Gita says, fill your mind with me. Love me. Serve me. Worship me always. Seek me in your heart. You will at last be united with me. And I think that can only be the true reflection of divinity that each one of us is working for.

Look at the example of Srinivas Ramanujam, the great scientist that India produced, the great mathematician. He changed the world of Mathematics while he was only in his twenties. He had visions of Mathematical secrets unfolding while praying to Mahalakshmi, he says. He said, an equation for me has no meaning unless it represents a thought of God. Look at the deep message that the famous mathematician left behind in his discoveries of mathematical formulae. When he said mathematics to him came from his spirituality, the divinity that was within him.
...

We in India believe that the rightful place of India in the comity of nations (is) as a Vishswaguru. As the country that will the lead the world to the path of righteousness, to the path of spirituality. And all of us in India believe in Vasudaiva Kutumbakam - the world is one family. And for us there can be no greater joy than welcoming the world to our shores, the world to participate in our joy, the world to be part of our own growth, our development. As they say, Aa No Bhadra kratavo yantu viswatah - Let noble thoughts come to us from all sides, from all directions. [Ravi: That's a famous quotation from the Rig Veda] We should not necessarily confine ourselves to our own thinking, to our own learnings. Let the world's learnings flow into India. Let our learnings go across the boundaries of India across the world.

In fact, there can be no better example than the world being one family than what we saw happening in Paris during the Conference of Parties - COP 21, where the world got together to fight the challenge of climate change. Where countries across the world sat in a room, sat on a table, thrashed out differences. And Prime minister Narendra Modi and India, representing the people of India, was able to play a leadership role, recognized by leaders from across the world in bringing consensus on the table. Bringing all nations together in this massive fight to protect the environment, to protect the world, to protect the earth from the savagery of pollution, from the harm that years and years of environmental degradation has done to this earth, and this universe.

I think the collective efforts of the world to fight the twin challenges of climate change and terrorism are the only message which show how the world can be united, which show how the world and the people of the world, particularly the youth, have a divine role to play in serving humanity, in serving people of all countries of every part of the world.

On a lighter vein, Mark Zuckerberg, in his twenties through Facebook has brought the world together. His introduction (of), his conceptualization of Facebook has connected so many people that you can actually never be alone. You can never be away from your near and dear ones. And this is the sort of connectivity that this world today yearns for, that is going to change the destiny of the world.

The last D that I wanted to talk about was Seva. Daan. Service to humanity. I think there can be no better teacher than Swamiji when it comes to explaining service to society.
...
And there can be no greater happiness than impacting the lives of a poor man and making a difference to somebody less privileged than you. I think all these lessons of love for the youth of India, for the youth of the world - if each one of us can adopt the five D's that Swamiji had articulated in the service of humanity, in the service of your country, in the service of the world - true divinity, true happiness can only come from there.

The power in this room is best reflected in the words of Margaret Mead, Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed. it is the only thing that ever has.

And I believe that the large following that the foundation, that the Sri Sathya Sai Baba organization has in India, across the world, and the power of each one of you in this room will change the destiny of your family, of your locality, of your city, of your country, and of the world, for each one of you has within yourself that power. Each one of you has the power to be the next Vivekananda, the next Mahatma, the next Ramanujam, the next true devotee who will change the destiny of this world, who will impact the future of this world. Each one of you has the divine spirit of Swamiji right inside you. I invoke that spirit in the service of society, in the service of the world. Thank you very much for this opportunity. [Applause]
---- end excerpts from Shri Piyush Goyal speech ---
====================================================
I put up the transcript part of this post on Facebook here:
https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1764754310407805.

I was very pleasantly surprised to note that the Hon'ble minister, Shri Piyush Goyal, has shared my above Facebook post, on his Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/PiyushGoyalOfficial/posts/587465344757949.

I wrote a comment on the above post as follows:

Piyush Goyal, Dear sir, I am honoured that you have shared my post having a transcript of parts of your speech delivered at Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi. I take this opportunity to thank you again for the encouragement you have provided to Sai devotees, especially Sathya Sai youth, by visiting Prasanthi Nilayam and inaugurating the World Youth Festival. Jai Sairam!

Readers may want to visit my associated blog post titled, Union Minister Piyush Goyal gives inaugural address at Sathya Sai World Youth Festival at Puttaparthi, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/07/union-minister-piyush-goyal-gives.html.
--- end comment ---

[I thank Shri Piyush Goyal and Wikipedia, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from their speech/website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]